Belt and Road Initiative

As China-Laos railway nears completion, infrastructure poised to transform Lao economy

The China-Laos railway, slated for completion by December, may bring the most dramatic shifts of any current infrastructure project in Southeast Asia as it transforms communities along its route and changes the dynamics of Laos’ economy. Offering an alternative to Laos’ reliance on hydropower dams for economic development, it could also become increasingly significant for China.

Malaysia and Singapore drop high-speed rail plan

Malaysia and Singapore have finally canceled a fraught high-speed rail line from Kuala Lumpur to the island city-state. The two governments reportedly could not reach an agreement after Malaysia pushed to modify the project yet again over financial concerns.

Foreign investors push economic zones in Laos despite debt, local opposition

Foreign investment projects worth billions of dollars are poised to transform Laos’ Vang Vieng in spite of local opposition and the government’s precarious public debt. The area, known for its natural beauty, falls along the route of a new Chinese railway and is one of many projects in Laos under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Myanmar’s stumbling Dawei SEZ takes another step forward despite COVID-19

The Dawei SEZ in Myanmar, set to be Southeast Asia’s largest industrial zone, is progressing once again despite years of instability and uncertainty. The pandemic also makes it nearly impossible for developers and the government to meet with local residents to answer basic questions about the impacts and benefits of the project.

Work resumes on China-Laos railway: Full steam ahead for Beijing’s Belt and Road?

Construction has resumed on the new US$6 billion China-Laos railway, a key piece of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, despite the deep impacts of COVID-19 across the region. But as the pandemic brings new questions about sustainable growth and resilience, it’s changing the calculus for the governments and local communities that host China’s new development projects.

Can Laos manage its debt to China?

Laos borrowed heavily from China to finance key infrastructure and development projects. Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith claims the debts are manageable. Is he right?